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Trade Depot’s forklift accident results in amputation, emphasizing safety factor.

Understanding Workplace Safety: Lessons from a Recent Incident

In a recent incident at Trade Depot in Onehunga, a woman lost her lower leg due to a collision with a forklift, highlighting the importance of effective traffic management in the workplace.

The Incident

The 68-year-old woman was waiting to collect whiteware from the customer collections area when she was struck by a forklift in August 2022. Her injuries were so severe that her left leg had to be amputated below the knee. WorkSafe New Zealand charged Trade Depot for failing to have an adequate traffic management plan in place and for the malfunctioning lights on the forklift at the time of the incident.

Lessons Learned

According to WorkSafe’s area investigation manager, Paul West, the lack of proper traffic management systems posed a significant risk to both workers and customers. Implementing measures such as one-way systems, barriers, designated crossing points, and speed bumps or signage could have prevented this tragic incident.

Implementing Safety Measures

For businesses that deal with on-site traffic, it is essential to prioritize safety measures to prevent accidents like the one at Trade Depot. Here are some practical tips for implementing effective traffic management in the workplace:

  • Establish clear one-way systems to separate moving vehicles from pedestrians.
  • Install barriers between pedestrian pathways and vehicles to ensure safety.
  • Designate specific crossing points for pedestrians to avoid potential collisions.
  • Use speed bumps or signage to alert both drivers and pedestrians of potential hazards.

By proactively addressing the risks associated with workplace traffic, businesses can create a safer environment for everyone involved.

WorkSafe’s Guidelines

For detailed guidance on managing work site traffic and ensuring safety in the workplace, you can refer to WorkSafe’s guidelines.

Legal Consequences

Trade Depot Limited was sentenced at Manukau District Court, with a fine of $350,000 imposed and reparations ordered. The company was charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 for failing to ensure the safety of individuals in the customer collection area.

It is crucial for businesses to prioritize safety measures and comply with regulations to avoid costly fines and, more importantly, prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Reference: Amputation follows forklift trauma at Trade Depot

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